I’ll be honest.
I had a hard time writing this article. I have attempted to do it not just once, but a lot of times and I still wasn’t able to finish it immediately. The reason being is that I’m not in the mood to write, somehow I couldn’t stay in the present moment. My mind had wandered too far for weeks. In addition to that, I couldn’t keep my focus on my work because I keep thinking of unnecessary things. I didn’t plan to think about these things but it just comes up all of a sudden and I get too immersed in them. I know how ironic it is to write this article while I knew that I don’t fit into this category but believe me or not, I did find a way to resolve this.
Instead of constantly pressuring myself to work, I decided to pause everything for weeks and made myself feel every single day that passed by. I gave myself enough time to enjoy thinking freely, meditating and finding balance in everything. After that, I woke up one morning and voila! I felt like I am now ready to face the upcoming days.
Wanna know more? Let’s continue reading!
WHAT DOES MINDFULNESS MEAN?
Ever since the pandemic had started, part of us knew that things won’t be the same again. A lot of us are forced to stay at home and aren’t able to work due to lockdown restrictions; the worst is most of us lost our jobs. We also know how hard it is to stay focused, be in the present moment and stay healthy during these times. Our sleeping habits changed, our plans have been delayed, our travel trips have been postponed, lost all kinds of motivations in life and we are all too worried about the next days. As a result, we are having difficulties to be in the present moment. But what does mindfulness really mean? How can a person be mindful? What is the importance of being mindful especially during this time of pandemic? These questions are also the things I ask myself. So, I gathered these data from different websites and other people talking about what mindfulness is. Here are the top three:
According to mindfulschools.org, “mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity” (n.d.).
Following that, mayoclinic.org said, “mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment” (n.d.).
As stated by Shauna Shapiro on her TEDx Talk – The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger, “mindfulness is intentionally paying attention with kindness” (2017).
All of them described mindfulness simply as being present in the moment by being conscious of what’s currently happening in your life with gentleness and acceptance. Knowing about this will save people from draining because of too much thinking. It also helps people not to waste their time by figuring out things that can’t be resolved in just one click.
HOW IMPORTANT IS MINDFULNESS
Just imagine a life where you can do your work and be as productive as you can be or even pass a single day during this time of pandemic with less negativity roaming around your mind, this in return, will help to enhance your mental and physical well-being. That’s how important being mindful is.
Researchers have stated that Mindfulness Meditation has now entered the world of medicine and is now advisable to practice because of its positive impact on one’s health. It helps reduce stress, anxiety and even helps to build yourself to manage your negative thoughts more.
This pandemic has made us restless in so many ways that’s why it is essential for us to know how to be more mindful.
WAYS TO ACHIEVE MINDFULNESS
You should also keep in mind that in achieving mindfulness, you won’t get it in one go. It will really take a long time. Don’t worry, it took me a lot of time before I got it. I will now share some techniques that may help you to stay in the present moment and create more mindfulness in your life. I’m not an expert on the topic of mindfulness but this is what works for me. Let’s give it a try, after all, one things is clear: More mindfulness in your life won’t harm you.
One of the reasons why I like writing this article is because this is where I can share the things I know about meditating and how it helps me to stay calm and enhance my mental health as well as my physical health. I have tried different methods and advice from my friends and coworkers but only meditation soothed me.
I remember when I landed my first job as a teacher, I had this phase where I am determined and focused then suddenly that determination and focus that I needed was suddenly lost. Our chairperson talks to me but I don’t get what he’s saying because I am so out of focus. I thought it affected my performance as he asked me about my opinion on a workshop project. The words that left my mouth when he asked for my opinion was “oh it’s not bad! continue the project”. I think he seemed disappointed because at some point I know he was expecting a much more meaningful comment.
So what I did is I stopped working for a few minutes and I went out to our office lounge and heard my co-workers playing guitar and chanting. It felt like a musical meditation and right at that moment, I told myself that maybe this is what I needed the most right now, a small-time of peace and meditation to get back to my senses. I sat on the couch nearby and even though I didn’t understand the lyrics, it made me feel peaceful. That’s the power of meditation.
I’ve heard them doing that for a couple of times until one day, our chairperson and co-workers who are practicing the Krishna consciousness, invited me to a Music & Yoga Fest by the Yoga Haribol Club held in Lotus Valley in Ilocos, Philippines. We participated as a guest musician introducing the match up of indigenous instruments and mantras. That was the time I understood more the concept of mantra meditation. I forgot my problems for a while and we did enjoy our precious time while away from the busy streets of Manila.
We participated as a guest musician, introducing the matchup of indigenous instruments and mantras. That is when I fully understood the concept of Mantra Meditation. I forgot my problems for a while and enjoyed our precious time, away from the busy streets of Manila.
When I got home, I quickly searched for the meaning of the mantra and the words I have heard during the fest. Luckily, I found this research about Time-Frequency Analysis of Chanting Sanskrit Divine Sound “OM” Mantra by Ajay Anil Gurjar and Siddharth A. Ladhake that gave me a better understanding of it. I came up to this:
“A Mantra is a sound repeated over and over until it integrates into our consciousness – frees the mind from its constant doing, and elevates us to an altered state of awareness.”
“…Mantra has been called the sound-body of God: It is God in the form of sound. Mantra helps to quieten the mind.”
I even asked my co-worker to send me meditation music he has on his phone. He then started sending at least 7-9 music and I always play it every time I work because it relaxes me. The reason is that I heard the most common and basic mantra which is OM or AUM. Stated below are the power chanting this mantra:
- The chanting of Om drives away all worldly thoughts and removes distraction and infuses new vigor in the body
- When we feel depressed, chanting Om fills us with new vigor and strength. The chanting of Om is a powerful tonic. When we chant Om, we feel we are the pure, all-pervading light and consciousness
- Those who chant Om will have a powerful, sweet voice. Whenever we take a stroll, we can chant OM. The rhythmic pronunciation of Om makes the mind serene and pointed and infuses the spiritual qualifications which ensure self-realization
- Those who do the meditation of OM daily will get tremendous power. They will have luster in their eyes and faces.
-Ajay Anil Gurjar and Siddharth A. Ladhake(2008)
This relaxing mantra reminds me of the feeling of a nice and warm stay near the beach. Below I will be sharing some of the music I got from my co-workers that comforted me and helped my mind to rest from working too much.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Mindfulness in our lives also means to not force yourself to put more things on your to-do list than you can accomplish within the day. Take some time to rest and work if you have already recharged. Forcing yourself to finish the task if you don’t feel like it won’t help you to produce the best product. Listen to what your mind and body are telling you and do not ignore it.
For students, parents, teachers and individuals who are working from home right now, no matter how important your duty is, your mental health is more valuable than being drained and troubled after you strained yourself by working. Always remember that being kind to yourself is not wrong, as a matter of fact, it will enhance your life. If your body tells you to slow down to give your current thoughts a space to breathe, go on and enjoy it. Try changing your perspective that instead of thinking about it as a burden, you should think about it as a stepping stone to practice mindfulness during these times.
CONNECT WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
Connecting with your loved ones is really helpful after taking the time to absorb and process everything. With them, you will be able to share your thoughts and since they might have experienced your problem at some point in their lives, they might give you some tips on how they overcame it and what kind of motivation they thought at that time. Being able to open up how you feel with your loved ones feels really great.
It’s hard to see them face-to-face right now due to different lockdown restrictions, but thanks to the ever-evolving power of the internet, we can still talk to them through chat and video calls. In case you ever need someone to talk to, video call with them and share your thoughts and feelings with them.
To be honest, it can be quite tricky at times because you don’t know if you’re just physically exhausted or you just lose your focus. Our mind is always busy, one must know how to distinguish it and practice the art of mindfulness. With its benefits, it will help you continue your living with a positive mindset. We should always keep in mind that being mindful of things will help us to get a better understanding of ourselves and it will help us to grow more as a person.
Answer the following questions below:
- Are you an individual who can’t focus on your work because your mind wanders a lot of times?
- What are you thinking most of the time?
- Do you notice it in yourself? What are the signs you can say that you’re not being mindful already?
- How does it affect your work and life? Do you lose your focus?
- What do you do whenever you feel it?
Share your answers in the comments below and let’s talk about it!